Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘War’ Category

THE GOOD WAR?

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Well, another thing I would have hoped to avoid seeing in my lifetime: A popular war. More exactly, a wildly popular war. The last time this really took off on a national scale was during World War Two. At least from my understanding of history, that was before my time. So it’s not surprising that the current war is being compared to that one. Saw a guy online ranting that Putin was now the equivalent of Hitler and had destroyed Russia’s world standing for generations. Words can’t describe how ridiculous that is. And the mainstream media is almost pure war porn and war mongering now. With Zellensky and Biden stridently calling for endless war.

Aside from the mind numbing hypocrisy of the US accusing Russia of aggression, possibly the greatest case of the pot calling the kettle black in history, Zellensky refuses to even talk to Russia, and he’s even claiming they will get “all” of Ukraine back including Crimea. As I have pointed out before (one will never see this mentioned in the western news) Crimea was only part of Ukraine through historical accident, it was administratively added to Ukraine in the 1950s when both were part of the Soviet Union, but the people there are Russian and never wanted to be a part of an independent Ukraine. Basically Zellensky is claiming he’s justified in conquering a land full of Russians that doesn’t want to be part of Ukraine.

Yet Americans are convinced Zellensky and Ukraine are fighting for their freedom from Russia, and it’s a noble cause that must be pursued at all cost. And the cost is western gas and food prices going through the roof, and the Dems getting hammered in the fall elections. No, there’s nothing noble, the Russo-Ukrainian War is just another American manufactured war. it’s the war the Deep State (or the Blob or the Atlantic Empire, or whatever you want to call the nexus of power in the western world, Washington, the New Rome) wants and worked hard to get.

The big picture. World War Two was enormously profitable, historically profitable, for the American fossil fuel industry, arms industry, and the Pentagon. I mean these  guys usually profit in modern war, but this time it was all profit, the American homeland was unbothered by World War Two. So after the war, they and Washington were already in bed together, so the cozy arrangement continued. Endless war, the Cold War, endless profits. The military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about. And now, I guess it’s a habit? A strategy like what bees and ants do? America chooses its enemies, and works hard to keep them enemies.

Russia tried to join the west, the USA wouldn’t let them. Global Reform and How the US Hurts Itself. Most Americans though have bought the complete twaddle that certain regimes are “evil”
and that treating them with anything but complete hostility is appeasement; can’t have that, it will unleash a new Hitler upon the world. Neither Saddam nor Putin had a whole lot in common with Hitler, and the Russo-Ukrainian War isn’t Hitler invading Poland. In fact as far as I can tell under the blizzard of propaganda is that both sides are being relatively restrained and trying to only hit military targets.

Neither side gains anything by trying to destroy key infrastructure or cause mass casualty attacks. Russia’s goals are limited and not served by deliberately targeting infrastructure or civilians. Neither are Ukraine’s, destroying the Russian bridge to Crimea or otherwise causing mass harm to Russia runs the very real risk the Russians would escalate in kind. Russia has lots of nuclear weapons, an escalation Ukraine can’t match.

Another huge personal conundrum … there’s really no way to know what’s actually going on in this war. This article for example: Day 150 of the Russo-Ukrainian War. If it’s even half true, the war has gone very badly for Ukraine. Yet the west is mostly claiming that the plucky Ukrainians are inflicting terrible casualties on Russia. Then there’s this: The War ‘Diplomat’: How Borrell and the West Lost the ‘Global Battle of Narratives’ Yes, only America’s allies have bought into the NATO crusade against Russia. Claiming this is “losing the global battle of narratives” strikes me as odd at best, deluded at worst. The point here is that if Russia is actually winning the war, and it’s not an unreasonable conjecture, while NATO and Ukraine think they’re winning … this war could last a long time.

And since we’re talking about a proxy war between the US and one of its two great global designated enemies, serious business. Another such war is still going on after 72 years. That would be the Korean War, still technically just a cease fire. The US has never agreed to negotiate the end of the war, so the war still sits stalemated with both sides armed to the teeth staring at each other across the DMZ. Forever war, forever arms sales, forever Pentagon spending. The only losers are everyone else.

Sometimes I wish I was as sure of my world view as almost everyone else is. It quickly passes. I am sure that war is a bad thing all around. There’s no such thing as a good war.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Self explanatory, attribution in image, found on Facebook. Believed to be legal use under US copyright law, claimed as Fair Use in any event.)

Written by unitedcats

July 27, 2022 at 8:59 pm

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

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This map helps to understand Ukraine and the divisions that have wracked it since the nation was created after the collapse of the Soviet Union. What became Ukraine was created administratively by the Soviet Union, so its borders didn’t really matter while the Soviet Union existed. Once the Soviet Union collapsed problems began almost immediately: Russia-Ukraine Tensions Flared Early in the Post-Soviet Era | The National Interest.

And now the latest and worse problem, the Russo-Ukraine War, continues, exactly as Washington wants it to: The War Party’s Dictates on the Ukraine War Weapons continue to pour into Ukraine. Where they go then, who knows.  The US Has No Idea Where Its Ukrainian Military Aid Is Going. Ukraine was already a horribly corrupt country before the war, there’s zero reason to think it’s any less corrupt now. In Hollywood fantasy movies people band together in the face of adversity. In reality the grifters and war profiteers go nuts in hard times. The Russo-Ukrainian War is basically a US proxy war against Russia now:  The Second Level Geopolitical War in Ukraine Takes Over

So that’s the plan and news in the west, the world is united against Russian aggression, and with western help the Ukrainians will win the war. NATO expands, Russia is weakened and vanquished, NATO expands, democracy and freedom all around. There are endless problems with this narrative. Despite the “news” in the west, the world is most definitely not siding with the US. Only 30 of the world’s 195 countries have agreed to the US sanctions against Russia. Most of the world more or less thinks “NATO made this mess, it’s not our problem.” On Ukraine, the World Majority Sides With Russia Over US.

I’m really starting to think US foreign policy is basically on auto-pilot. Cold War forever, the response to the Russian invasion seems entirely predictable. NATO is going to conquer the world in the name of good, no need for planning or nuance, just keep moving forward, like this: Nine reasons why NATO should close the door to Sweden and Finland. Excellent reasons not to, but NATO may indeed. Our foreign policy seems determined to meet the desires of the Pentagon and arms industry, playing lip service to democracy and freedom.

The problem is it’s not 1970 anymore, the US is no longer the undisputed economic and military leader of the planet. Hell, even then there were limits to our military as Vietnam showed. Granted to this day we clearly refuse to understand that: “Nothing is Impossible” Finds It Impossible to Tell the Truth About Vietnam. IE, Washington is living in a fantasy world it has sold to its people and itself. Pretty sure if one’s game strategy is completely predictable and at odds with reality, the advantage is to the other team. Works that way in both football and war.

I’m not the only one thinking on these lines. What if Russia Wins Its War Against Ukraine. The one thing that is 100% predictable about wars: they rarely come to predictable ends. And the bigger the players, the less predictable such wars become. Russia is still a big player. And Putin is the smartest leader to hit the world’s stage in a long time, he ran circles around both Bush and Obama. And despite western fantasies, his popularity is rising. Maybe the war is going exactly as Putin planned? It’s possible, people who can’t see that are like the people who don’t understand Trump’s appeal. People are like they are, not as how we want them to be.

So, a couple of other links on US autopilot hypocrisy: Iran Talks Stall: Does America Even Believe in Diplomacy Anymore? Trump canceled a perfectly good agreement, just resign it. Or this: “After spending months lecturing the world on the rights of states to set their own foreign policy course and to decide on their own alliances, the US is once again reminding small states that it assumes that their freedom to make those decisions is contingent on Washington’s approval.” Breaking the Habit of Bullying Small States. Hypocrisy especially illustrated: When the US does it, it’s sanctions. Russia does it, it’s gas blackmail. If you wanted an example of how the mainstream media is just an American propaganda outlet, this is it: Russia begins ‘gas blackmail’ halting supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, governments told.

The Russo-Ukrainian War is not good vs evil, the Manichean heresy, it’s just a stupid border war between major industrialized states, one nuclear armed. With some outside world powers doing their best to prolong the conflict. Lots of evil to go around, very little good. We’re through the looking glass here folks, the most terrible major power war since the US invasion of Iraq. And it turned out far differently, and far worse, than almost any of the pundits predicted. Granted the US invasion of Iraq was based on fantasy while Putin’s attack was much more reality based.

Still, this war is another great example of, like almost all wars, “It takes two fools to have a fight.”

PS: Next post: Soft liars vs hard liars.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Etho-linguistic Map of Ukraine. Credit: User:Yerevantsi/Maps, published legally under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Written by unitedcats

May 1, 2022 at 8:06 pm

DEFENDING GREEDOM

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The Russo-Ukraine War continues, and while the US is still egging on the participants by refusing to negotiate and otherwise pouring gasoline on the fire, at least Ukraine is talking to Russia. And of course Congress is doing what it does best, giving even more money to the military. The beauty of American foreign policy, the answer is always more money for the military, more war, more weapons spread around. Congress Calling for Larger Military Budget Amid Russia’s Ukraine Invasion. The Pentagon, the fossil fuel industry and the weapons industry make out like the bandits they are, the American people pay the price even while waving their flags and falling for Washington’s sophomoric Cold War propaganda.

So yes, I’m a cynic. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is evil, but it’s just one act in a world of evil perpetrated by the west. NATO Set Precedents for Russia’s Attack on Ukraine. And I’m just trying to understand it all and see how it fits into history. Though granted that’s tricky since it’s 1914 or 1939, who the hell knows how it will end up. Putin’s attack is a Hail Mary, he obviously can’t prevail in a war with NATO. the US showed zero interest in negotiation (they never do,) so he could watch Ukraine join NATO and have American first strike weapons deployed on his border. This of course he couldn’t allow. Oddly enough Putin’s rationale for invading Ukraine was the same as the US purported rationale for invading Iraq, Putin wanted to avoid a WMD threat to Russia. Except in his case the WMDs are real and the threat to deploy them on Russia’s border was real.

To summarize, I don’t know what’s going to happen now, no one does, that’s the nature of war. Anyone who says they do is a liar or a fool, it is safe to predict that whatever happens, it’s going to be ugly. This is the nature of war. I reject the western propaganda version of the war, it’s not some epic struggle between good and evil. It’s just the latest in the endless imperial wars the US has fomented since 1945. Gonna provide great blog fodder, but sadly so much death and sorrow and horror makes that irrelevant. As always I hope cooler heads prevail, there are diplomatic ways out of this mess.

A bunch more interesting links I’ve come across for those who want outside-the-mainstream- media viewpoints: Weapons of Financial Destruction and the New World Disorder – The American Conservative,When History Begins – Russia, Ukraine, and the US, The War Party Wins Even When We Lose, Whataboutism and Russia’s Attack on Ukraine, and Russia’s Economic Blackout Will Change the World – The Atlantic.

In other domestic international news: Pence tells Israeli paper: We will tear up any new nuclear deal with Iran – Responsible Statecraft. Fascinating on so many levels to see a nation whose out-of-control domestic politics is destroying their ability to conduct actual diplomacy. Which ultimately can’t end well. Basically this is the GOP declaring they are the sole ruler of America, and what others do when they are in office doesn’t count.

By the same token the GOP is going nuts trying to enforce their religious ideas on those who aren’t subscribers to the evangelical world view. I finally realized why the religious right froths at the mouth about anything that contradicts their Christian heteronormative world view. It’s because they have made their evangelical Christian opinions about gender and sexuality part of their identity. So anything that contradicts that, like transgender or gay people, is a threat to their world view. Thus laws to preserve their world view and force it on those who disagree: Want to Understand the Red-State Onslaught? Look at Florida.

Lastly, Covid. A million dead Americans at least. One of the top four mass deaths in US history. Yet it’s fading from public consciousness unlike 9/11 or numerous other lesser mass death events. Interesting, nu? How Did This Many Deaths Become Normal?

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Found on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

March 11, 2022 at 10:19 pm

RUSSIA AND UKRAINE, THE DOGS OF WAR HAVE BEEN UNLEASHED

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I have been very depressed since Russia invaded Ukraine. This is the worst outbreak of war since the US invasion of Iraq nearly 20 years ago, and in some ways one of the worst outbreaks of my life. Modern industrialized nuclear powers going to war is always a scary thing, the sheer destructive power at their disposal is frightening even without counting nuclear weapons. Even if this war is limited to Russia and Ukraine the death toll is likely to be in the thousands at least with property damage in the billions. Already there are over 150,000 refugees, so a terrible humanitarian crisis is unfolding. And it could get so much worse, other nations could get involved, nuclear weapons could get used, a world war is not out of the question.

A lot to be depressed and angry about. Humans live on a planet that is a paradise, a planet that could easily provide a good life for everyone on Earth. Instead greed, corruption, and violence are rampant, with a tiny number of people hoarding staggering amounts of wealth while billions of people live in abject poverty. And the ultimate expression of the failure of humanity is war, organized violence intended to kill other human beings. I suspect war is one of the main reasons the aliens fly right by. And yet we’ve completely normalized it, glorified and fetishized it in many cases. There’s nothing glorious about war, if your country is involved in a war, there were almost always failures in leadership that led to it.

Russia invading Ukraine is a terrible crime. It’s a war crime, the greatest war crime in fact because all other war crimes flow from it. I hope cool heads prevail and the war ends as quickly as possible. I had no wish to see this in my day, just as I had no wish to experience the greatest pandemic in a century. And that’s far from over. Oh, and the Tonga volcano eruption in January was the greatest in decades. 2022 is starting off with a bang. My few remaining readers want my opinion, of which I have a few. Unpopular as they may be.

So yes, terrible thing, terrible war crime. And that’s as far as it gets in the US at least, no context, no history, nothing. Evil Russia invades freedom loving Ukraine, heroic Ukrainians defending valiantly against invading Russian hordes. True enough, but without history and context, it’s a facile sophomoric analysis. Russia hit first, end analysis, preschool playground ethics. See it on TikTok, put a sunflower on your Facebook profile. Americans can feel incredibly noble and heroic defending Ukraine, without the inconvenience of actual Americans being killed and wounded for life. And anyone who doesn’t get on the bandwagon is a Putin apologist if not an enemy of America.

Washington got the war it wanted, in the grand American tradition of fomenting wars going back to the Mexican American War in 1846, A Democratic war no less, while most Republican criticism of the Dems is paranoid marketing nonsense, the Dems have managed to start a lot of wars. Good for their sponsors, the arms and energy industries, the two most powerful industries on Earth. When the Soviet Union collapsed and effectively surrendered to NATO the US promised that NATO would not expand eastward. A promise that the US broke immediately and expanded NATO up to and inside the borders of the old Soviet Union. Putin made it very clear that Russia had had enough, they would not stand for Ukraine joining NATO and positioning missiles on the border with Russia’s heartland. No more than the US would allow Russian or Chinese missiles stationed in Mexico or Cuba. Hell, we almost fought a world war about Russian missiles in Cuba.

So yes, this war could have been completely avoided if Ukraine had just stayed neutral, the same way Finland and Austria coexisted peacefully next to the Soviet Union for decades. Tell that to most Americans though and hostility and denial will be the response, Putin is the next Hitler and must be stopped because he wants to rule the world. (highly recommended link.) A conclusion so absurd (not to mention projecting, since it’s America that is trying to rule the world) as to be laughable. Except of course there’s nothing laughable about this situation. Among other nonsense being tossed around western media is the Dems somehow making this war Trump’s fault. So the Dems have mastered the GOP’s playbook, anything bad that happens is the other party’s fault. At least during the Vietnam War debate was possible, and at least some Americans were calling for peace.

All that aside, what the hell is going to happen now? No idea. If I had to guess, I think eventually Ukraine will realize America isn’t going to send the cavalry to their rescue, and will sit down with Putin and work out an acceptable deal that preserves Ukraine’s independence while assuaging Russia’s security concerns. That’s an optimistic sentiment though. It could get much worse. The other possibility is that Biden’s plummeting approval rating will goad him to reckless military involvement, like trying to impose a no fly zone over Ukraine. Here is a good link about how this war could have been avoided, and tons of history and context ignored by the western media: The Eazy-Peazy Ukrainian Alternative – Partition.

Another good discussion about this war and America’s response to it: The History Behind the Russia-Ukraine War. I particularly liked:

As Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University and leader of the so-called “realist” school of foreign policy wrote earlier this week, “‘strategic empathy’ isn’t about agreeing with an adversary’s position. It is about understanding it so you can fashion an appropriate response.”

That’s all I try to do. Stay safe everyone. I’ll try to write more about this nightmare as the situation unfolds.

Copyright © 2022 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Meme found on Facebook, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. In fact from what I can tell it’s not possible to copyright or trademark quotes by other people.)

Written by unitedcats

March 6, 2022 at 4:20 pm

WHAT DO AIS AND DATING SITE SCAMS HAVE IN COMMON? PLUS JUNE 22ND

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So I’ve been checking out some dating sites lately. They’ve come a long way since I last looked. And I’ve been there the whole time, I did computer dating in the late 1970s. And that was one computer nerd who wrote a program and advertised it locally, in Davis, USA. Worked for me, it hooked up my housemate to a girl I dated for years, was friends with for decades. Now, it’s much more sophisticated. And the scammers are as well. Well, scammers and sex workers. Neither of which I have a problem with. Hey, poor people in the second and third world want to scam gullible Americans out of their money, go for it. And sex workers can’t advertise openly and safely because this is Kristian Amerika, so they have to do so subtly on dating and rental sites. I digress.

So seeing as I have no interest in sending money to scammers or seeking the services of sex workers, I need to figure out how to filter out same. The sex workers are pretty easy, if their pics involve T&A shots with a sparse profile looking for hookups: sex worker. The scammers, boy, they have gotten a lot more sophisticated. The best ones have very real looking profiles. And when messaged, the responses can be well written as well. They tend to have a cut and paste look though, IE neat message, but only superficially at best a response to my prior message. And when I suspect a scammer, I ask a very specific question. Or better yet, say something completely nonsensical. Jeez, sent a nonsense response to one, got an obvious cut and paste message to the effect of “Wow, thanks for sharing that information with me.” Busted.

So, I realized I am essentially running a variant of the Turing Test on possible scammers. The Turing Test is basically the idea of interfacing with a subject via text exchange and determining if it is a human or a computer. Brilliant concept really, because it doesn’t concern itself with whether a computer can become conscious and self aware, it limits the question to, can a software program fake human responses enough to fool humans?

And we’re real close folks. We are close to the point where it’s going to be hard to tell if we are interacting with a person or software. Phone a business, will one be talking to software or a person? And think about this. How many professions are essentially ‘talking to people?’ The ones that can run remotely, a Zoom image or whatever works as well. The image of a person on a video feed is just pixels on a screen, all manipulable by software. AIs are going to put a lot of people out of work, every telemarketer on the planet for starters.

As for pixels on a screen, that’s what movies and TV series are, right? So why couldn’t an AI create movies? It’s just a more sophisticated chess calculator. Or series. There have to be an infinite number of possible ‘Simpsons’ episodes, right? So why couldn’t software write new ones? Think of it, every TV show or movie the gentle reader ever liked available with countless computer generated sequels/episodes. Young Sean Connery could star in thousands of James Bond films. Peeps will be able to buy software that will create movies or series to order.

Will this happen soon? IDK, technology was running ahead of application during the US Civil War, the gap has increased since then. Is there as yet some human component to creativity that AIs won’t be able to surpass? Maybe. One thing we can say for sure about the future, no one has ever accurately predicted it.

The past though, we can see how predictions went wrong. June 22nd 1941, eighty years ago today, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa, the greatest invasion in history. Tens of millions would die as a result. Exactly three years later, June 22nd 1944, the Soviet Union launched Operation Bagration. AKA “The Destruction of Army Group Center.” Germany’s Army Group Center. The greatest defeat ever suffered by Germany, and the fifth bloodiest campaign in European history. No one predicted that, most thought that Germany would easily conquer Western Russia, and who knows what would happen then. A crushing German defeat with Soviet Armies steamrolling to Berlin three years later, couldn’t happen.

Could an AI have written that plot? Maybe. Did an AI write that plot? Could we be living in a 23rd century computer game program on some kid’s Qpad? Am I a software routine writing a blog that will only be read by other aps? And do we evolve as a result? Hell if I know, but I’m going to explore the idea more.

So, yes. My blogging has been limited because of … personal … issues. I think I’m going to write about speculative weirdness to see if I can break through my writer’s block. Stay safe and sanish everyone. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Two destroyed German tanks during Operation Bagration, including dead German crew members. There are still people alive who remember the horrors of Germany’s invasion of Russia. I can’t imagine what they lived through. Credit: Unknown, public domain image under all known copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

June 22, 2021 at 7:55 pm

JUNE 6, 1944, THE LONGEST DAY

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A long time reader suggested some history posts instead of the GOP follies. It would be a nice break. And the timing is perfect, today is the 77th anniversary of the greatest seaborne invasion in history, Operation Overlord, the Allied landings in Normandy in German occupied France during the second World War. And I know a lot about it, as it was a famous battle in my favorite war.  I’ve probably covered most if not all of the following in previous blogs, but there’s always the possibility of a new reader or two.

So yes, D-Day was the largest amphibious landing in history. 24,000 paratroopers landed the night before, and 156,000 men (and one woman we know of) waded ashore on D-Day. About 4,000 of them died, another 6,000 were seriously injured. About a thousand Germans died, and thousands more were wounded. And several thousand French civilians also died. A pretty modest death toll for a single day of fighting actually. While thousands more would die in the weeks to come, it wasn’t a particularly deadly battle compared to numerous other battles. Hell, over 20,000 died in one day at the Battle of Towton, and that was in 1461.

D-Day also has the distinction of being the most carefully planned military operation in history. Years were spent preparing for it. All sorts of special weapons and equipment were invented for just this one battle. Hell, hundreds died in preparation for the battle. How many battles had over 700 dead preparing for the battle? Damn few, so D-Day might be the worst in history in this regard too. On the plus side, the double catastrophes in Exercise Tiger taught the Allies valuable lessons, and no doubt saved hundreds if not thousands of lives on D-Day.

And since D-Day was so well planned, it really couldn’t fail. While Ike (the overall commander) did have a message pre-written in case the landing failed, there really wasn’t any realistic chance of that. The German defences weren’t even remotely finished, the Germans had fallen for the Allies misdirection and concentrated their defences elsewhere, and overwhelming Allied air power and French resistance attacks crippled the German ability to rush reinforcements to Normandy. The Allies flew over 10,000 air missions on D-Day, the Luftwaffe, a 100 or so. No contest. The only real way the invasion could have failed is if spectacularly bad weather had set in for weeks after the landing grounding the Allies air power. None of this diminishes the accomplishments of those who took part in the invasion, it was a hard fought battle.

Some Americans love to claim D-Day was the “turning point” in the war. No, no it wasn’t. Stalingrad and Kursk were the turning points in the war. By the summer of 1944 the Russian juggernaut was rolling inevitably toward Berlin, it was just a matter of time. D-Day hastened the end of the Third Reich, and meant Western Europe and West Germany didn’t become Soviet occupied countries, but it didn’t affect the outcome of the war. D-Day was the beginning of the end for Hitler is a good way to think about it.

In the same vein Americans often think D-Day was an American affair. In “Saving Private Ryan” for example, the British are only mentioned once, disparagingly; and the Canadians aren’t mentioned at all. In point of fact, five beaches were invaded that day, two by Americans, two by the British, and one by Canadians. While America certainly provided the lion’s share of troops and weapons for the western Allies, only about 40% of the troops wading ashore on 6 June 1944 were American.

Lastly, a nice story. There were lots of specials about D-Day on the 50th anniversary in 1994. I remember one story. There was a kid from I think Nebraska who waded ashore on D-Day. He survived, and the war ended. He had some leave before returning to America. He decided to visit Normandy because he had been struck by how beautiful the countryside was. (Pretty much anyone who grew up in Nebraska will think that way about almost anywhere but Nebraska, but I digress.) Well, while there he met this nice French girl, and the rest is history. He was still happily living there as of 1994. And I bet he never had to pay for his drinks at local bars.

In any event, tonight I will drink to all that fought that day. God rest the souls of those who died. Well, all but the Nazis. I still think Nazis are bad, call me old fashioned. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: American dead on Utah Beach.  Note the body has been tagged with information about who he was, when and where he died, etc. Real people died that day, war really is madness. Credit: Probably Robert Capa.)

Written by unitedcats

June 6, 2021 at 12:23 pm

MEMORIAL DAY

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wars. The US has been at war 222 out of 239 years. More than 92% of its existence. And even that’s an under count, there really was no peace during the 19th century because of ongoing efforts by individuals and state militias to exterminate the natives. And virtually none of the wars were just wars in any way, shape, or form. That has been especially true in the post World War Two era.

Memorial Day 2021. This is the day where Americans honor those who died fighting in America’s wars. Well, that’s the theory at least. Unfortunately the way many people are honoring our dead strikes me as the exact opposite of honor. The day has been turned into a propaganda fest in support of America’s endless wars. The US has been at war 222 out of 239 years. More than 92% of its existence. And even that’s an undercount, there really was no peace during the 19th century because of ongoing efforts by individuals and state militias to exterminate the natives. And virtually none of the wars were just wars in any way, shape, or form. That has been especially true in the post World War Two era.

And yet all over Facebook, and all over the country presumably, people are posting and talking about fallen heroes who died “defending our freedom.” This is obscene. Every war since 1945 has been about defending America’s global empire and its corporate interests. Every American who died in these wars was a life wasted in service of the empire. And the memory of those whose lives were tossed away on the altar of corporate and political greed has been turned into a celebration of death and empire.

I grieve for those lost in our wars. I will honor their loss by continuing to speak for peace. The greatest thing an American can do to honor the fallen is stop supporting further war. Stop sending our youth abroad to die and be maimed in the service of corporate greed. The US is the most powerful empire the world has ever seen, there are no threats to our freedom. Outside the US at least, certain parties are working hard to destroy our freedom from within.

But that’s tomorrow’s blog. I hope all have or had a good Memorial Day. God rest the souls of those who died in America’s uniform, grant peace to their friends and family. #getvaccienatedcovid19 #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: From Facebook, attribution in image, used without permission, claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

May 31, 2021 at 7:50 am

BOMBS AWAY, LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE

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There’s been a lot of, well, violent oppression in Israel and its occupied territories lately. More innocents dead. It’s not really a complicated or nuanced situation. Israel invaded and conquered the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, and since then has refused to either annex them or allow them to declare independence, whilst slowly stealing their land, destroying their homes, farms, infrastructure; and periodically waging war on them. Sometimes the Palestinians fight back, but the violence is overwhelmingly on Israel’s part, and the innocent dead are overwhelmingly Palestinian.

I’d say “what a mess,” but that implies it’s some sort of intractable problem where both “sides” are to blame. Nope, Israel has all the power, all the weapons, all the advantages including the unconditional and uncritical backing of the US. Israel has deliberately perpetuated the situation by denying the Palestians their rights, essentially keeping them as stateless prisoners in open air prisons. It’s not aparteid. It’s much uglier than apartheid. And as long as the US and the international community give Israel their unqualified support, Israel has no incentive to do anything but continue their slow ethnic cleansing of Gaza and the West Bank. Pointing out the injustice of this isn’t antisemitism, it’s just stating the truth.

Speaking of stating the truth, Liz Cheney, the now former GOP leader of the House, has been stripped of her position. She refuses to believe in and support Trump’s lies: Trump lost the election, and he incited a mob to storm the capitol. Not debatable. Trump though is cementing his control of the GOP and, well, inciting a purge. It’s made his remaining supporters more fanatical, while driving away huge numbers of conservatives who have decided enough’s enough. Pretending that Trump was this fantastic president was easy, but at this point Trump is indeed destroying the foundations of our democracy in his obsession with “not being a loser.”

And by driving away, I mean just that. Trump’s popularity has plummeted since the election, which is unprecedented for a former president. He’s at like 32% now, as I’ve been saying all along, about a third of the country is behind him. Some of the Republicans who have abandoned Trump are threatening to create a new party. The “No Homers” party. OK, that was a really old Simpsons joke, IDK what they propose to call it. And honestly, good show. The chances of Trump getting reelected in 2024 are basically zero if he can’t rally all the Republicans back to him. Fine by me.

And there’s definitely schadenfreude on my part here, the GOP lied for decades, sowing the field for someone like Trump. Granted the Dems aren’t exactly paragons of truth and justice, but Fox News and the GOP normalized lying about basic facts. And now a guy who lives in his own made up reality where he lies about everything is running their show. Makes me curious to know if something similar preceded the rise of other personality cult leaders in history. Fodder for future research and blogs.

Speaking of lying cult leaders, a Federal judge has slapped down Wayne Lapierre’s attempt to declare the NRA bankrupt. Basically turns out the NRA had a huge corruption problem, with the people at the top essentially looting at will. They got caught and the state of New York began legal proceedings. Mr Lapierre tried to declare the NRA bankrupt in what was a brazen attempt to get away with the goods. Using the letter of the law to evade the intent of the law usually only works in Hollywood movies, it’s why we have judges. Again, schadenfreude time. Though not really. It’s not really shameful joy when the parties involved brought it on themselves. Just joy.

In other news:: President Joe Biden Approves Nation’s First Major Offshore Wind Farm. 85 wind turbines off the coast of Massachusetts. It will produce enough electricity to power 400,000 homes. Hopefully it’s just the first, the nation’s offshore wind power potential is twice the current total energy output of the US. I am however deeply disappointed by Mr Biden in this. What was he thinking? It should have been placed off the coast of Mar-a-Lago. Hope all are having a good week. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Palestinians fleeing Israeli ethnic cleansing in 1948. Public Domain image. Mar-a-Lago joke credit: FearlessFly.)

Written by unitedcats

May 12, 2021 at 7:16 pm

BIDEN BACKS UKRAINE’S CONFRONTATION WITH RUSSIA, THIS COULD GET UGLY

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Germans bombing Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine in 1941. Ukraine in living memory has suffered terribly at the hands of non-Ukrainians: Nazi Germans and Stalinist Russians. So a lot of bad blood there. That’s the background. Jumping ahead, both Bush and Obama tangled with Russia over border disputes between Russia and its neighbors. In both cases Russia was defending ethnic Russians or long time allies of Russia.

Bush encouraged Georgia to believe it had American support in the event of a confrontation with Russia. Two small breakaway provinces of Georgia had decided during the collapse of the Soviet Union that they wanted to be part of Russia, dammit; there had been blood spilt, but Russia ‘peacekeeping’ troops ensured their de facto independence from Georgia. Sashakvili, the leader of Georgia, attacked these troops in an effort to reincorporate the breakaway provinces  into Georgia. The Russians responded with overwhelming force. Bush told them to back off. Putin said “talk to the hand;” and Russian troops beat the crap out of the Georgian military, invading Georgia itself in the process. Georgia came to its senses, granted the two minor provinces to Russia, and that was that.

Then Obama took his turn. An anti-Russian coup took place in Ukraine, the US immediately proclaimed it legitimate, and the new rulers wasted no time passing laws that made ethnic Russians into second class citizens. The local government of Crimea then voted to join Russia, they held a plebiscite which also overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Since, you know, Crimea had been part of Russia for centuries, and was populated almost entirely by ethnic Russians. Putin promptly annexed Crimea, and Obama was left with explaining how he had “lost Crimea.” And to this day Russia defending Russia, Russians and its allies is characterized as “Russian aggression.” Technically correct the same way that any chess player making a move can be characterized as the aggressor.

And now it looks like Biden is going to try his hand at facing off with Russia over its disputes with Ukraine. So freaking similar to Rome’s wars with Persia that it’s somewhere between scary and silly. Have we learned nothing? I digress. There are two eastern provinces of Ukraine that also saw pro Russian revolts, where the ethnic Russians declared a sort of independence from Ukraine. Supported by Russia. And there’s where the current problem is. Russia has built up troops there in case they “need” to protect Russians in Ukraine.

Will Ukraine “invade” its two eastern provinces, a replay of Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia? I hope not. Putin outmaneuvered Bush and Obama, I’d bet on him vs Biden and his handlers any day. Russia has nuclear weapons too, so it seems crazy to do anything that could provoke war with them. Ans as well Russia can easily field conventional forces that could crush Ukraine’s military in a conventional war. So if Ukraine does something stupid, it’s because they think the US will back them.

How will this play out? No one knows. I give a 50% chance something further stupid will happen. And there’s a 1-10% chance something awful to history changing will happen. Is Biden really a senile old fool, or a sociopathic mimic of the first order who will do what the Washington elite says? My bet is on the latter, hopefully we won’t find out. I guess if I get to see ‘Life meets Jericho,’ there are worse fates.

Have a great weekend everyone. Get a Covid vaccine as soon as you can, Covid is looking like a worse disease all the time. Stay safe. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

PS: And in the 24 hours since I started writing this, the situation has deteriorated: US Warships to Enter Black Sea in ‘Significant Signal’ to Russia, Russia Prepared for ‘Worst Scenario’ With Possible US Sanctions, and Ukraine’s Top Commander Invokes NATO’s Article 5 Military Assistance Clause as West Continues to Oversee Ukraine’s War in the Donbass. Fun times.

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Used legally:This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B12190 / Kraagranger [Kraayvanger] / CC-BY-SA 3.0 )

Written by unitedcats

April 9, 2021 at 7:41 pm

Posted in 2021, Biden, Russia, Ukraine, War

BIDEN, INFRASTRUCTURE, OIL, WAR, RAPE IN THE NEWS

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Biden tells Johnson they should build massive global infrastructure plan to rival China. Well, when is the US going to invest in its own antiquated and failing infrastructure? Biden didn’t say. He did say this though about China, Washington fear mongering at its best:

“They have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch.”

No Mr Biden, it’s America that is obsessed with being the most powerful country in the world, it’s America that sees everything in terms of rivalry. This is a nice article that ties into that mindset: The Origins of America’s Unique and Spectacular Cruelty. I was particularly struck by the point that a ridiculously high percentage of the American economy is profit driven. Like health care for example, no other nation has allowed giant corporations to turn health care into a profit making industry. It’s the major reason our healthcare system is so obscenely expensive compared to other countries. The whole idea that somehow profit is the best way to motivate institutions to do a good job is somewhere between silly and sick, though a lot closer to sick. It’s warped our thinking about so many things.

While I’m detailing America’s faults, here’s another: US Fossil Fuel Companies Get a Shocking Amount of Implicit Subsidies Each Year. It’s only shocking to people who haven’t been paying attention. More than $50 billion in the US, nearly a trillion dollars annually over the entire globe. Coal being far and away the worst, if coal power had to pay the health and environmental costs of mining and burning coal, it would all stay in the ground right where it is because there’d be no profit in mining it and burning it for power. Just another way the economy of the world is geared towards making obscene profits for the few by passing the costs onto the public. Ain’t capitalism grand?

Lastly, it really needs to be repeatedly said that America is one of the most warlike (as in endlessly waging wars) nations the world has ever seen. It’s insanely expensive, and not only unnecessary, it’s actually causing terrible harm. And yet here we are. Waging war around the world, suffering a terrible level of domestic gun violence, and most Americans are just oblivious to it. It’s really weird if one steps back and looks at it. No other country built a giant fleet of bomber carrying ships and uses them constantly to bomb people around the world. Your tax dollars at work.

So yeah, speaking of surreal (welcome to America,) the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that if a woman is drunk when she meets a man, he can’t be charged with raping an incapacitated victim. Say what? They are literally saying if a man drugs his victim or gets her drunk, he can be charged with raping an incapacitated woman … but if she was already drugged or drunk, it’s not quite rape? He is going to be retried on a lesser charge, but people are outraged. I am certainly with those who say Minnesota rape law needs to be rewritten.

Oh, the trial of George Flyod’s killer started. Hopefully it will proceed to a sane conclusion, and there will be no unrest. Blog fodder if there is. Um, windy as hell in Northern Iowa. Trump cultists are still predicting his imminent return to the White House. Worse, the GOP seems to be running with “Biden winning was a coup.” Stupider and far more mainstream than birtherism, yeah, American politics not looking good. #StaytheFHome #WearaDamnMask #FelesRegula #dearMoonCrew

Copyright © 2021 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Snappygoat image of the USS Kitty Hawk, Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

March 29, 2021 at 8:03 pm